Story by

Sirkku Ylikoski

March 14th, 2016

At first glance, we live in a region with endless pine and spruce tree forests and plain terrain, but upon second glance, the reality is way more exciting. The plain geology was formed after the last ice age about 10,000 years ago. There are fields of rocks, ground and formed about by the movements of the melting ice and sand that was pushed up into ridges by the mile-high ice.

Then there's all the quiet knowledge local people have about places you can explore. Beautiful spots in the nature, old buildings and unexpected places like the one we visited this time: an abandoned network of sandpits that is, by silent agreement, actually an adventure park for the villagers. The place is surrounded by endless forests with just-barely-drivable little road leading the way.

In summer, you can swim in ponds formed by groundwater that rose while the sand, piled up by the long-gone ice, was dug out in to make roads. From the walls of the pit, you can see the layers of trees, rocks, sand and mud, which was a great opportunity to explain a thing or two about different types of soil to the kids. During the winter, this is the best spot for sledding. As the road is never ploughed, not too many people are willing to test whether their cars will get stuck or not when there is snow on the ground. (A fact that provided us with a very private sledding weekend with friends.) It was perfect! -2C, glimpses of the sun, 20cm of untouched snow, eight happy kids ages six months to 17 years, two dogs, four adults and many sleds.

The silence was filled with laughter and shouts. The air was thick with snow flying around the sledges. Cheeks got red and everyone played in the knee-deep snow way longer than usual because doing something with friends is always double the fun. I love uncomplicated fun in the nature – even more so with friends. And just by knowing a few facts I can enhance the learning experience for my kids, helping them see a long line of history.

Our next project is to learn to recognize animal tracks, because with the amount of noise our lot makes, there's absolutely no chance of actually seeing any wild animals.